In Baptism we are drawn into the community of faith. We become part of the pilgrim People of God, which, in all times and in all places, goes forward in hope towards the fulfillment of the “promise.” It is our task to take our place responsibly and lovingly beside those who, from the beginning, “remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers” (Acts 2,42).
Baptism creates a sacramental bond of unity linking all who have been reborn by means of it. But Baptism, of itself is only a beginning, a point of departure, for it is wholly directed towards the fullness of life in Christ (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 22). Baptism is the foundation of the unity that all Christians have in Christ: a unity we must seek to perfect. When we set out clearly the privilege and the duty of the Christian, we feel ashamed that we have not been capable of maintaining the full unity of faith and charity that Christ willed for his Church.
We the baptized have work to do together as brothers and sisters in Christ. The world is in need of Jesus Christ and his Gospel—the Good News that God loves us, that God the Son was born, was crucified and died to save us, that he rose again and that we rose with him, and that in Baptism he has sealed us with the spirit for the first time, gathered us into a community of love and of witness to his truth.
Another aspect of Baptism, perhaps the most universally familiar, is that we are given a name—we call it our Christian name. In the tradition of the Church it is a saint’s name, a name of one of the heroes among Christ’s followers—an apostle, a martyr, a religious founder, like Saint Benedict, whose monks founded Westminster Abbey nearby, where your sovereigns are crowned. Taking such names reminds us again that we are being drawn into the Communion of Saints, and at the same time that great models of Christian living are set before us. London is particularly proud of two outstanding saints, great men also by the world’s standards, contributors to your national heritage, John Fisher and Thomas More.
As the prophet Ezekiel reminds us, it is the Lord himself who is the true shepherd of this New People. He himself pastures his sheep. He shows them where to rest: “As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view … so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and the darkness…. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong” (Ez. 34,12 and 16).
Together we shall renew our baptismal promises. We shall reject sin, and the glamour of evil, and satan, the father of sin and prince of darkness. We shall profess our faith in one God, in his Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, in the coming of the Holy Spirit, in the Church, in life everlasting. And we shall be responsible for the words we say, and be bound by an alliance with our God.
Brothers and sisters! In order to be faithful to this alliance we must be a people of prayer and deep spirituality. Our society needs to recover a sense of God’s loving presence, and a renewed sense of respect for his will.
Let us learn this from Mary our Mother. In England, “the Dowry of Mary,” the faithful, for centuries, have made pilgrimage, to her shrine at Walsingham. Today Walsingham comes to Wembley, and the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham, present here, lifts our minds to meditate on our Mother. [Note: There was no time in his busy schedule for the Holy Father to visit the main Marian shrine in England, so the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was transported to Wembley.] She obeyed the will of God fearlessly and gave birth to the Son of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Faithful at the foot of the Cross, she then waited in prayer for the Holy Spirit to descend on the infant Church. It is Mary who will teach us how to be silent, how to listen for the voice of God in the midst of a busy and noisy world. It is Mary who will help us to find time for prayer. Through the Rosary, that great Gospel prayer, she will help us to know Christ. We need to live as she did, in the presence of God, raising our minds and hearts to him in our daily activities and worries.
May your homes become schools of prayer for both parents and children.
God should be the living heart of your family life. Keep Sunday holy. Go to Mass every Sunday. At Mass the people of God gather together in unity around the altar to worship and to intercede. At Mass you exercise the great privilege of your Baptism: to praise God in union with Christ his Son; to praise God in union with his Church.
Brothers and sisters, to be faithful to our alliance with God we must be, not only a people that prays, but also a people that does the will of the heavenly Father. Again it is Mary who teaches us how. Through her obedience she accepted the whole of God’s plan for her life. And in doing so she achieved greatness. “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Luke 1,45).
We express our real acceptance of Christ’s word by respecting the moral demands of our Christian vocation. And the fulfillment of these demands is an act of loving obedience to the person of Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word of God. If our faith is strong, the moral demands of the Christian life—although at times they are difficult to fulfill and although they always require an effort and grace—will seem neither unreasonable nor impossible. Certainly, our fidelity to the Gospel will put us at odds with the spirit of the “present age.” Yes, we are in the world, indeed as disciples of Christ we are sent into the world, but we do not belong to the world (cf. Jn 17, 16-18). The conflict between certain values of the world and the values of the Gospel is an inescapable part of the Church’s life, just as it is an inescapable part of the life of each one of us. And it is here that we must draw on the “patience” which Saint Paul spoke to us about in the second reading. We groan inwardly as we await our salvation, in hope and with patience (cf. Rom. 8,23-25).
I have often spoken of the decline of respect for the fundamental moral values that are essential to the Christian life. Indeed, moral values are essential to the life of all human beings as free agents created in the image and likeness of God, and destined to a higher creation.
The world has largely lost respect for human life from the moment of conception. It is weak in upholding the indissoluble unity of marriage. It fails to support the stability and holiness of family life. There is a crisis of truth and responsibility in human relationships. Selfishness abounds. Sexual permissiveness and drug addiction ruin the lives of millions of human beings. International relations are fraught with tensions, often because of excessive inequalities and unjust economic, social, cultural and political structures, and because of slowness in applying the needed remedies. Underlying all of this there is often a false concept of man and his unique dignity, and a thirst for power rather than a desire to serve.
Are we Christians to agree with such a state of affairs? Are we to call this progress? Are we to shrug our shoulders and say that nothing can be done to change all this?
My brothers and sisters, the essence of our Christian vocation consists in being “light” and “salt” for the world we live in. Let us not be afraid: “The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness” (Rom. 8,26).
Keep in mind that picture of Mary and the Apostles gathered together at Pentecost in Jerusalem. Remember that the same Holy Spirit who filled their minds and hearts also fills the whole Church today. And he brings us the loveliest and the most powerful gifts: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5,22).
Let us really accept the words of Jesus: “If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink” (Jn. 7,37). Then we shall receive his gift: “Out of our hearts shall flow rivers of living water…. Now he said this about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive.” Then, in the power of the Spirit we shall become a people that prays: indeed, the Spirit himself will pray in us and for us (cf. Rom. 8,26). And we shall become a holy people.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, realize the greatness of your Christian vocation. Christ has called you out of darkness into his own wonderful light. Consider what God has done for you in Baptism, and lift up your eyes and see the final glory that awaits you.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great.
O Lord how manifold are all your works.
When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth” Amen
(Ps. 104,1, 24 and 30). Amen
Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, as we are born of the water and the Spirit. Baptism is necessary for salvation (John 3:5), and conveys a permanent sign that the new Christian is a child of God. Jesus himself was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (Mark 1:9-11). The martyr St. Ignatius of Antioch, in his Letter to the Ephesians written about 100 AD, stated that Jesus “Christ was baptized, that by himself submitting he might purify the water.” Baptism is prefigured in the Old Testament through the saving of Noah and his family during the Flood (Genesis 7:12-23, 1 Peter 3:20-21), and Moses crossing of the Red Sea during the Exodus, leaving captivity for the Promised Land (Exodus 14:1-22).
The Greek word baptizein means to “immerse, plunge, or dip.” The infant or candidate is anointed with the oil of catechumens, followed by the parents, godparents, or candidate making the profession of faith. The essential rite of Baptism consists of the minister immersing the baby or person in water or pouring water on his head, while pronouncing “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” The infant or candidate is then anointed with sacred chrism.
What has taken place in Baptism is indicated by the rites that follow it, the clothing in the white garment and giving of the lighted candle: the baptized person has “put on Christ” and has now become light.
Here are three Scriptural sources in the New Testament (See also Matthew 3:13-17, Luke 3:21-22; Acts 1:21-22; Romans 6:3-4; Ephesians 4:5; Colossians 2:11-13, I Peter 3:21):
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Gospel of Matthew 28:19-20
“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened
and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove;
and a voice came from heaven,
“Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.”
Gospel of Mark 1:9-11
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
Gospel of John 3:5
with all your soul and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and first commandment.
And the second is like it.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus of Nazareth
When you have a serious problem and need fast action, what do you do?
First pray to the Holy Spirit, to Jesus, to Mary or to an admired saint. Ask for the wisdom to know what to do and the strength to do it.
Yes, but what else could you do?
The Epistle of St. James (5:13) states, “Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray.”
Verse 16 says, “Pray for one another that you may be healed.” The complete answer is, Pray and ask others, including non-church goers, to pray for your special need.
When Our Lord Moves Us to Pray with Another
First, ask the person for permission. “I can see that you are deeply troubled. May I pray with you — right now?” If possible, ask him what is causing him so much pain.
Invite the Holy Spirit to come and to treat this person’s particular need. You might say something like, “Holy Spirit please come and help (name) who is carrying a heavy burden (briefly mention). There is much sadness and pain in his life and he desperately needs your help.”
Ask the person whether he wants the Holy Spirit to come into his life and help them. Tell him that, “God loves you very much and His power can overcome your problems.”
Listen without judging the person and respect their right to privacy. Don’t worry about what to say, but keep your words short and simple as in normal conversation. You may decide to recite the Our Father together.
It is not our words but the action of the Holy Spirit that heals and restores lives. Holding the person’s hand or placing your hand on their shoulder can bring a sense of coming together before God. You can both either stand or kneel, or even sit down. God doesn’t mind.
The most healing thing that we can do is to bring Jesus into the center of their problem. Our primary task is not to give advice or to get rid of their pain — which usually we are unable to do. While being aware of the manipulations and games that people sometimes play, it is more important to be conscious of their burdens and sorrows. And Jesus will love you.
You may decide to end by saying something like this: “Jesus, I know that You will help (name). Lord, we will love and praise You all the days of our life.”
Share Lumen Christi
It is no longer possible to bring people to Jesus solely by intellectual argument.
They must see Him in our lives.
Baroness de Hueck
The rector of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Scotland told the story of two men who were business partners. The first man regularly attended church while the second professed no religion. They met on a Sunday morning when one was going to church and the other was going to play golf. After a brief “Good morning”, the golfer asked the man on his way to church, “When are you going to give up all this hypocrisy about religion and churchgoing?”
“I don’t understand what you mean,” said the other. “I mean just what I say. When are you going to give up this hypocrisy?” Much offended, his partner answered, “What right have you to call my religion hypocrisy?” “Well,” said the golfer, “we have been partners for twenty years. We’ve met and talked together every day. Yet if what you profess to believe is true, you have never said one word to help me be anything different.”
Don’t let fear of what others may think stop you from sharing your belief in Christ. “If you are ashamed of Me before men, then I will not recognize you before My Father.”
Sharing does not mean you have to stand on the street corner with your Bible, asking people if they are saved. Instead, you should pray to be given the right moment and the right word to tell a person what Christ has done for you. You can invite the person to attend church service with you. Often people are looking for an invitation, but are afraid to ask. Our attitude should be: “I have found something that helps me to live, something that brings joy into my life and I would like to share it with you.”
In reaching out there must always be respect and love for those who do not see as you do. Welcome discussion, be honest and don’t gloss over differences. Always recognize the validity of their search. In prayer ask the Lord to show them the road to follow. Strive to see Christ in all men, including those who have found a spiritual home different from yours.
Today countless people live in spiritual darkness. They have this unmet inner need, this innate drive for something that transcends self. Many are lukewarm Christians. Christ is a stranger to them. Their lives lack the joy and real meaning which only comes from a close personal relationship with Jesus. Although they are often financially secure, there is a deep spiritual poverty. They nourish their body but neglect their spirit. This causes a strange and persistent emptiness, which they can’t explain. The more material things they have and the older they become, the more troubling is their question, “Is this all that there is to my life?” They are left with a disturbing feeling that there must be more. They are like a person trapped in a dark room trying to find the exit.
If you believe that Christ is the Light of the World and that He is the way out of spiritual darkness, then share your faith with others. Encourage them to practice Quiet Time. Then they will experience the joy of having Jesus at the center of their life. The Light of Christ, Lumen Christi, will transform their lives in ways they never dreamed possible.
They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar as with eagles’ wings,
they shall run and not grow weary,
and they shall walk and not grow faint.
The LORD is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.
In green pastures you let me graze;
to safe waters you lead me;
you restore my strength.
You guide me along the right path
for the sake of your name.
Even when I walk through a dark valley,
I fear no harm for you are at my side;
your rod and staff give me courage.
You set a table before me
as my enemies watch;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Only goodness and love will pursue me
all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come. (New American Bible)
Prayer to Avoid Evil and Do Good
O My God,
I give myself to you,
with all my liberty,
all my intellect, heart, and will.
O Holy Spirit of God,
take me as your disciple:
guide me, illuminate me, sanctify me.
Bind my hands, that I may not do evil,
cover my eyes that I may see it no more,
sanctify my heart that evil may not rest within me.
Be my God and my guide.
Wherever you lead me I will go;
whatever you forbid I will renounce,
and whatever you command,
in your strength I will do. (Cardinal Manning)
I See His Blood Upon the Rose
I see His Blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of His eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.
I see His face in every flower.
The thunder and singing of the birds
Are but His voice – and carven by His power
Rocks are His written words.
All pathways by His feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree. (Joseph M Plunkett)
Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord make me an instrument of Your Peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
Where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Canticle of Love
(author is Saint Augustine, 4th century Bishop of Hippo)
My love of You, God, is not some vague feeling;
it is positive and certain.
Your word struck into my heart
and from that moment I loved You.
Besides this, all about me,
heaven and earth and all that they contain
proclaim that I should love You.
But what do I love when I love You?
Not material beauty of a temporal order;
not the brilliance of earthly light;
not the sweet melody of harmony and song;
not the fragrance of flowers, perfumes and spices
not the manna or honey;
and not limbs the body delights to embrace.
It is not these that I love when I love my God.
And yet when I love Him
it is true that I love a light of a certain kind.
a voice, a perfume, a food, an embrace;
but they are the kind that I love in my inner self
when my soul is bathed in light
that is not bound by space;
when it listens to sound that never dies away;
when it breathes fragrance that is not borne away on the wind;
when it tastes food that is never consumed by the eating;
when it clings to an embrace from which it is not severed
by fulfillment of desire.
This is what I love when I love my God. (Confessions 10: 6-8)
My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
For He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid.
For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty has done great things for me; and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on them that fear Him throughout all generations.
He has shown strength with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and has exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He has sent empty away.
He remembering His mercy has helped His servant Israel;
As He promised to our forefathers, to Abraham and his children forever.
Canticle from Revelations 15:3-4
Great and wonderful are your deeds
Lord God the Almighty:
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations.
Who shall not revere and praise your name, O Lord?
For you alone are holy.
All nations shall come and worship in your presence:
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Who Am I?
Who am I? This or the Other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others.
The Path to a Better Life
The Lumen Christi Road Map
By your life may every person know that
you are a follower of Jesus Christ.
For your just dealings have been revealed.
To Him who sits on the throne and
to the Lamb:
Be praise and honour, glory and might
For ever and ever. Amen
The Road Ahead
My Lord God
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
And before myself a contemptible woebegone Weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army
fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
They mock me these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest O God. I am thine.
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost and now am found
Was blind, but now I see.
—— (Middle stanzas omitted) ——–
The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures,
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come,
Tis grace has brought me safe thus far.
and grace will lead me home. (John Newton)
Your life is a journey that stretches from the time that you are conceived to the time that you die. It is a difficult journey. All of us know how easy it is to mess up our lives. We need a road map to follow. If you regularly follow the Lumen Christi road map, Christ will dramatically change your life. You will experience a peace and a joy that only He can give.
Commit your life to Christ
This is not a one-time decision. Each day resolve to love Him and to follow Him. If you have never known Jesus, if your relationship with Him has grown cold or if you have seriously messed up your life, then this is the place to start. Now is the time to stop the excuses and to surrender your life to Jesus. You might write out your decision, date and sign it.
Prayer of Surrender: Jesus I am sorry for the many times I have offended You. I now turn away from my sins and turn to You. Please come into my heart and be the Lord of my life. I recognize You as my Lord and Savior. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Thank You Jesus.
Suggestion: Now is the time to bury every fear of the future, of poverty, of suffering and of loss. Bury all thoughts of unkindness and bitterness, all your dislikes, your resentments, your disappointment in others and in yourself, your sense of failure and your despondency. Having confessed your sins to the Lord, leave all shame and guilt buried and go forward to a new and risen life with Christ.
Remove the obstacles to a closer union with Jesus
See the list on page 10. Which of these roadblocks applies to you? After you have identified the roadblock, then take steps to get rid of it. This can be a life-long process. The forces that try to separate us from Jesus never completely go away until we die.
Suggestion: Ask the Holy Spirit to help you overcome the roadblocks to a closer union with Jesus. Discover attitudes or situations that cause problems. Avoid them. Stop giving in to them.
Read the Bible every day
The New Testament remains the richest source for our meditations. Read a page or a chapter daily and reflect on the words. The resulting thoughts will have a profound effect on the way you think and act. Focus on the New Testament, but also read Psalms, Book of Wisdom, and Ecclesiastic.
Suggestion: Memorize passages that have special meaning for you. They will help you get through difficult times in your life.
Be aware of Christ’s presence — He is always with you
Be aware of God’s presence. In times of trouble remember that Jesus is very near. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you” (ICor. 3: 13).
Suggestion: Talk to Jesus during the day. Praise and thank Him and express your love. Knowing Christ is always present can dramatically change what you say and do.
Reach out to others — your life is not solely your own
Love is a paradox. The more that you give away, the more that comes back to you. The more you hoard, the less you have. Finding Jesus in other people is not always easy, but then we ourselves are not always lovable.
“Love one another as I have loved you” (Jesus Christ).
Suggestion: Give time each week to help people in need. Share your faith with others. Help others by your prayers, financial help and words of encouragement. Let your job title be “Servant of Jesus Christ.”
Be thankful that you have Christ in your life
Be thankful that God, Who created the universe, loves you. Give thanks to Jesus Christ, Who gave His life to free us from our sins. Although we cannot see the road ahead, the Lord is our Shepherd and there is nothing for us to fear. Always and everywhere give thanks to the Lord.
Suggestion: Give thanks for having Jesus in your life and for all He has done for you. Thank the Holy Spirit for the faith that is in you. A strong faith drives out worry and fear. Give thanks for the gray days as well as the sunny days. To everything there is a purpose.
Acknowledge God publicly by going to church
We have a duty to honor God publicly as well as privately. We have an obligation to come together to publicly honor God, to acknowledge His Goodness and to ask for His help.
Suggestion: Join a church group. You will meet people who can help you in your spiritual journey. Receive the Eucharist, Christ’s Body and Blood, as often as possible.
Be happy — Christ is in you and you are in Christ
Following Christ is the foundation of happiness. We don’t have to wait until our resurrection to be happy. Christ wants us to be happy at this moment. How can you be unhappy if you truly believe that Jesus loves you and is always with you? Remember Christ’s promise that “whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23).
Suggestion: Reflect on God’s great love for you. Be happy. Don’t worry. Memorize Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Trust God in good times as well as bad times. Whatever happens, let your heart say The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away. Praise the Lord. In your daily practice of Quiet Time, include consecration to the Sacred Heart and prayers to the Mother of Jesus. Saying the rosary brings you closer to her Son Jesus.
God Has a Special Plan for You
Jesus Christ, Son of the Virgin Mary, for the rest of my life I will follow You.
God has a special plan for you. He wants you to have a personal relationship with Him. He wants you to grow in holiness, then people will see how Jesus has transformed your life. They will be attracted by your unselfishness and by the peace and joy evident in your life. You will preach Christ by the way you treat other people. You will make Christ real to a doubting world.
To find out what God wants you to do, listen to His voice during Quiet Time. Read the story of Christ’s life as told in the Bible and you will learn how to live your life, Receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and He will open your heart to His love,
Part of God’s plan for you is revealed in Matthew 18:3 where Jesus placed a child in the midst of His disciples and told them, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” I believe Christ is telling us that we must stop our mindless pursuit of status, fame, wealth and worldly pleasures. God’s plan for you does not include these goals. You are to become like Christ, who did not come as a king, but as one who serves.
To carry out God’s plan, ask the Holy Spirit to come into your life. The Holy Spirit will give you the knowledge and the strength to go wherever God’s plan may lead you. Ask Mary, the Mother of God, to show you how to please her Son. And then you will know the path to follow.
You don’t know how God is going to use you, so in Quiet Time ask Jesus, “Show me what you want me to do, Lord, and I will do it.” You might add, “But I will need your help.” Let His power work through you, and you will bring others to Christ.
Christ expects you to take time to minister to others. You might take part in a prayer group, or assist at church services. You might volunteer at a food bank, or coach sports. If you can’t participate directly, then you can pray for people having problems. And you will grow in holiness.
God’s plan for you might lead you down a dark and difficult path — one that you would rather not take. You might have serious health or financial problems. There could be tragedies or troubles with family members. But God will be with you and He won’t give you a cross that you can’t handle. You may be afraid and wonder what His purpose is for you. Continue to trust God and to believe that He is with you at every step of your journey. Hold fast to Christ’s promise of your resurrection and future life with Him, and there will be peace in your heart.
In everything that you do, work for Christ, with Christ and through Christ. The size of the task doesn’t matter; how you do it, does. Take no credit, but give Him all praise and honor. And your life will be a love story between God and you.
You too are with the Nazarene, Jesus
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven.
The scene is the high priest’s courtyard in Jerusalem. The disciple Peter is seated with the guards and is warming himself before an open fire. Earlier, Jesus had been seized by a crowd with swords and clubs and taken to a building connected to this same courtyard (Mark 14:53-72). Inside, the chief priests of the high court are interrogating Jesus. They are trying to obtain testimony in order to put Him to death.
While Peter is seated in the courtyard, one of the high priest’s maids looks intently at him and says, “You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” But Peter denies it saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.” Later, the maid again sees Peter and charges him with being a follower of Jesus. Once more he denies it. Then a bystander says to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you too are a Galilean.” Mark’s gospel tells us that Peter begins to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man you are talking about” (Mark 14:71).
It is easy to harshly judge Peter for denying that he knew Jesus. But think of the times you didn’t want people to know that you were a Catholic. Think of the occasions when you avoided giving an honest answer to a moral question. You were afraid to lose a friendship. You didn’t want to be unpopular. Yet your silence signals, “I do not know this Man, Jesus.”
Our failure to acknowledge Christ is understandable. It takes courage to go against the crowd. Publicly stating your moral position is not easy. If you disagree with our secular society, you are labeled a religious fanatic or a hate monger. Do you have the courage to be pro-life and to speak out against the murder of unborn children?
Two public health nurses came to my Grade 9 class, They showed the students how to use condoms and answered their questions. It was never mentioned that this behavior was unwise and morally wrong. When they left, I talked to the class. I stressed that sex was a special gift from God, that they should not allow themselves to be pressured into having sex and that they should listen to their parents’ advice. To my surprise, the students clapped. To my sorrow, there were other occasions when I was silent.
If you are baptized, then you too are with the Nazarene, Jesus. Don’t betray Him. Be both happy and proud that you’re a Christian and that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. Don’t apologize or try to downplay your principles or abandon them as some claiming to be Christians do. What you say publicly, more than what you say privately, reveals who you truly are.
Some may dislike you because your beliefs make them feel uncomfortable. To state that premarital sex, adultery, abortion and the practice of homosexuality are contrary to Christ’s teachings is guaranteed to make you unpopular. To state that only Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour is considered intolerant by many. If you are with the Nazarene, expect some conflict with the system — people who were lukewarm or fence-sitters angered Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the courage to tell the truth, to make your voice heard and to be the person you claim to be — a follower of Jesus Christ.
You Are What You Read
The lamp of the body is the eye.
If your eye is clear then your whole body is filled with light.
Avoid reading or watching material that may offend God. Suggestion: Visit a religious bookstore for books that strengthen your faith. Consider giving an interesting and inspiring book as a gift.
Story of a Soul (Saint Therese) – this beautiful book has brought many to Jesus
Jesus and His Message (Rev. Mahon) – a clear introduction to Jesus; will enrich all who read it
Our Grounds of Hope (Fulton Sheen) – reflections on the pain and suffering in our lives
Seven Story Mountain (Thomas Merton) – his journey and struggle to be close to God
Poustinia (Catherine de Hueck Doherty) – Christian spirituality of the east for western man
The Cost of Discipleship (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) – teaches us how to face God and ourselves
Becoming Human (Jean Vanier) – his vision for changing our lives by reaching out to others
Loving Jesus (Gonzalez-Balado) – notes on Mother Teresa, a sure cure for weak faith
Simpler Living, Compassionate Life (Schut) – how voluntary simplicity can lead to wholeness
Contrary to Love (Dr. Patrick Carnes) – invaluable help in dealing with sexual addiction
The Road Less Traveled (Dr. M. Scott Peck) – helpful insights leading to wholeness
Theology for Beginners (Frank Sheed) – clear explanations from a street corner apologist
The Seekers Guide to a Christian Marriage (K. Finley) – ways to build a satisfying marriage
Surprised by Truth (Patrick Madrid) – 11 conversion accounts; biblical and theological proofs
Catholics and the New Age (Fr. Pacwa) – study of Jungian psychology, reincarnation, astrology
Beyond Personality (C.S. Lewis) – a deeper understanding of God and His plans for you
Prayers of Hope (Cardinal Van Thuan) – thoughts and prayers from 9 years in solitary confinement
Read Holy Scripture (try to read at least one page of the Bible each day).
A study of the New Testament Epistles gives us clear lessons on how to lead a disciplined life pleasing to God. Think of them as letters to you. Before beginning to read, ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten your mind and to strengthen your will, so that your life will reflect what you have learned. Ask yourself the following questions: “What can I learn from this passage; how do I presently act; what specific changes are needed to make my behavior more pleasing to God?”
It is hard for us to realize that the words of Christ, spoken nearly 2000 years ago, are contemporary in every age. Read the gospels and allow God to whisper in your mind and in your heart words that can have a profound effect on the way you think and act.….He will find us if we listen to his voice calling to us through the fog that often surrounds us. (Cardinal Hume)
A Prayer Book
The Perfect Prayer
Participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Mass, is the most perfect act of worship of the Precious Blood of Christ. The Church tells us that “the Eucharistic Sacrifice is the source and summit of the whole of the Church’s worship and of the Christian life. The faithful participate more fully in this sacrifice of thanksgiving, propitiation, petition and praise, not only when they wholeheartedly offer the Sacred Victim, and with it themselves, to the Father with the priest, but also when they receive this same Victim sacramentally.”
“The Eucharist brings the power of Christ’s death on the cross into the lives of the faithful.” (Pope John Paul II, Sept. 14, 1984)
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. Amen
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
Jesus Help Me
Jesus help me, your servant whom you have redeemed by your Precious Blood.
In every need let me come to you with humble trust saying Jesus help me.
In all my doubts, perplexities and temptations Jesus help me.
In hours of loneliness, weariness and trial Jesus help me.
In the failure of my plans and hopes Jesus help me.
In disappointments, troubles and sorrows Jesus help me.
When I throw myself on your tender love as a Father and a Saviour Jesus help me.
When I feel impatient and my cross is heavy Jesus help me.
When I am ill, and my head and hands cannot do their work Jesus help me.
Always, always, in joys or sorrows, in falls and short-comings Jesus help me and never forsake me. Amen.
Prayer of Parents
Grant us, 0 Lord Jesus, to imitate faithfully the example of your Holy Family and to make our home another Nazareth.
May peace, love and happiness prevail.
Grant us the grace to be the parents we should be for our children.
Grant that our children may find solid support for their human dignity and for their growth in truth and love within the embrace of our home.
When the time comes for each of us to go to the ever-lasting home you have prepared for us, may your glorious Mother and St. Joseph take us to you, after the final grace of a happy death. Amen.
Prayer to my Guardian Angel
Angel sent by God to guide me,
Be my light and walk beside me;
Be my guardian and protect me,
On the paths of life direct me.
A Student’s Prayer
Lord there are many things in my life that need your help.
I need help in understanding my studies and passing my exams.
Also help is needed in managing my finances and my relationships with others.
But most of all I need your help to do what is right,
when so many advise me to do whatever I want.
Prayer for Employment
Jesus, you gave us the Lord’s Prayer.
You told us to include the words,
“give us this day our daily bread.”
Lord, I desperately need to find a job,
so that I can pay my bills and put food on the table.
So far the people that I have contacted
and the resumes that I have sent
have not led to a full-time job.
Now I turn to you and ask for your help.
Jesus I know you will hear and answer my prayers.
I will continue to look for work
and to trust in your loving care.
Prayer of a Separated or Divorced Person
Father, I belong to you.
I place myself anew in your hands
and acknowledge you as Master and Lord of my life.
Grant me the gift of a forgiving heart
and cleanse me of any anger, hostility or revenge.
Heal my hurts and wounds
and teach me to rely on your love.
Grant me wisdom of heart and strengthen me
by your grace to move on in faith, in trust and in love.
Thank you Lord for your love in my life. Amen.
For Our Holy Father
God our Father, shepherd and guide,
look with love on our holy father Pope Benedict XVI,
your servant, the pastor of your Church.
May his word and example inspire and guide the Church,
and may he, and all those entrusted to his care,
come to the joy of everlasting life.
Grant this through Christ your Son. Amen.
we join together with Jesus in prayer for our priests.
You have called them from among us to offer the Holy Sacrifice
and to proclaim the Good News.
We praise and thank you
for showing your goodness
through the work of their hands and hearts.
With faith and confidence
we ask that you make our priests fervent in prayer
as they lead your people.
Help them to become more Christlike day by day,
in their service to the Church.
Give them a new heart and a new spirit,
a spirit of compassion and self-sacrifice
that they may give witness to your love for your people.
This we ask in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
The Divine Praises
Blessed be God.
Blessed be his holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Blessed be his most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be his most Precious Blood.
Blessed be Jesus in the most holy Sacrament of the altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in his angels and in his saints.
Prayer to Saint Joseph for a Happy Death
O Blessed Joseph,
you gave your last breath
in the loving embrace of Jesus and Mary.
When the seal of death shall close my life,
come with Jesus and Mary to aid me.
Obtain for me this solace for that hour,
to die with their holy arms around me.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I commend my soul,
living and dying, into your sacred arms.
In Time of Personal Illness
O Jesus, you suffered and died for us;
you understand our suffering.
Teach me to embrace my suffering: to bear it in union with you,
to offer it with you to atone for my sins and to obtain your grace for those in need.
Calm my fears; increase my trust.
May I willingly accept your holy will
and become more like you in trial.
According to your will, restore me to health
so that I may continue to work for your honor and glory and for the salvation of all. Amen.
Mary, Health of the Sick, pray for me.
Prayer of Acceptance
My Lord and my God,
I willingly accept from your hands
the type of death you plan for me.
All its sorrows, pain and anguish
I join to your sufferings on the Cross.
All that I ask is that you stand beside me and never leave me.
The Lumen Christi program contains no promise that following this path will make your life problem-free. But if you seek God with all your heart, He will provide for you. No matter how dark and difficult the road you travel, Christ will be there to strengthen and guide you. And at the end of your journey, you will hear Him say words to the effect, Well done good and faithful servant, now enter into My Kingdom. And your joy will have no end.
Commit Your Life to Jesus Christ
In the Old and New Testament, God made a covenant with His people. We in turn commit our lives to Jesus when we are baptized. By publicly renewing our commitment to Jesus Christ, we experience Him in an exciting new way.
Father Bob Bedard C.C., a former high school chaplain, recounts how he witnessed again and again to genuine religious experience. “The Lord was at work. He was doing what I had never been able to do — change people’s lives.” At their graduation, Father had his students attend Mass in the school chapel. Before communion the students would come forward, kneel and read the commitment prayer together. What a wonderful way to start a new chapter in their lives!
Other suitable occasions to make this commitment might be at the conclusion of a parish prayer meeting, at a retreat, or at the final class of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. You can use the following text or compose your own:
Dear God, I place myself in your presence.
I worship you as Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth.
Now I make the commitment that I believe your Son Jesus is calling me to make.
Loving Father send your Holy Spirit to help me pray this promise.
Jesus, you died on the Cross to take away my sins and the sins of all the world.
I confess my sinfulness and claim the forgiveness that you have gained for me.
And I forgive all those who may have hurt me in any way.
Jesus, out of love for each one of us you suffered your sorrowful passion.
And you would have done it out of love for me alone. I now accept your unfailing love.
Jesus I want you to have complete charge of my life.
I desire a personal relationship with you as my Lord and my Savior.
Everything that I have and all that I am, I surrender to you this day.
Lord, plan and guide my life in whatever way you think best.
Jesus, my faith is weak and I often face temptations.
Lord, develop in me a strong faith and the wisdom to call on the Holy Spirit when I am in trouble.
Jesus, with your help I will turn away from sin.
I will place a guard over what I watch, what I hear,
what I say and what I do in order not to offend you, my loving God.
Jesus, Son of Mary,
I will strive to set aside time each day to praise you, to love you,
to thank you and to seek your help.
Jesus I trust you completely.
May all glory, praise and thanksgiving be given to the Father,
and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
Signed by:__________________________ Date: ______________________
Here are basic Catholic Prayers that will give structure to your life.
The Sign of the Cross
The sign of the cross is the simplest of basic catholic prayers.
We should begin our day with the Sign of the Cross… it is a prayer.
In nómine Patris et Fílii et Spíritus Sancti. Amen.
Catholics should begin and end their prayers with the sign of the cross and should cross themselves when passing a church, upon entering a church, and after receiving Communion.
Using your right hand, touch your forehead at the mention of the Father; the lower middle of your chest at the mention of the Son; and the left shoulder on the word “Holy” and the right shoulder on the word “Spirit.”
This prayer strengthens us in temptations and difficulties.
It is often made by athletes before a match, students before an exam, or any time when a person needs courage or protection.
Holy water is “water blessed by the priest with solemn prayer, to beg God’s blessing on those who use it, and protection from the powers of darkness.”
It is a catholic custom to make the sign of the cross with holy water when we enter church.
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors;
And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.
The Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit
Source of all wisdom and knowledge,
Guide me by Your Light,
Teach me what I should say and do,
Fill my heart with Your Love
so I may reflect Your Love
to everyone I meet. Amen
The secret of the saints
Say the name Jesus
The saints had a secret. They were always aware of God’s presence.
Say the name, “Jesus” often, as you would say a friend’s name. Use the name, “Jesus” to drive away fear, to rescue from temptation, to banish loneliness and to conquer your faults.
When you tenderly say the name, “Jesus”, God Himself hears and quickly attends to you.
A constant awareness of God’s presence
The secret of the saints is that they were always aware of Christ’s presence.
For them, heaven and hell were very real. They lived to please Jesus and to gain Heaven.
We can learn from them
If we had this awareness, we would want to talk to Jesus, whether we were riding on a bus, or in a car, or working in an office, school, kitchen, or wherever else we might be.
We would praise God or thank Him or ask for His help
Turning to God doesn’t interfere with other things we do. It blesses our work and brings us closer to Our Lord.
Try to live and act as if Jesus is with you at all times and in all places.
And talk to Him. How much happier your life would be.